It all came down to the last jam: a power jam for the the Windy City Rollers All-Stars, a 10-point deficit and a veteran jammer in KillaNois. This down-to-the-wire finish capped off a hard-hitting, incredibly close bout between the WCR All-Stars and the Team United All-Stars last Saturday at the Lombard Roller Rink.
Earlier that evening, the 2015 WCR All-Stars skated out on the track for the first time. With a roster full of fresh faces, they were looking to prove themselves. And even though WCR ultimately fell to a formidable Team United All-Star team, they proved they have the drive and heart that's been a hallmark of WCR All-Star teams since the beginning.
WCR has been to eight consecutive WFTDA championships, and this year's team doesn't plan on breaking that streak. A talented, but unranked, Team United squad put that dream to the test. Team United has only had two WFTDA sanctioned bouts in its short history, though many of the skaters are veterans of the flat-track. They are expected to make the 40-team playoffs this year -- as are the WCR All-Stars -- and this bout served as the starting line for both teams’ run to the Hydra.
WCR commanded the early part of the bout. Zoe Trocious started jam 5 tangled in the pack, where she stayed long enough to give Team United jammer Sunami a grand slam. But after Sunami cut the track, Zoe rallied to score two grand slams, putting WCR up 18-9. KillaNois continued that streak by getting lead jammer and scoring 11 point before calling it. The next jam saw Ms. Dr. Joseph L. Simonis muscle her way through the pack to pick up a quick 3 points.
But Team United wasn’t going down easy, and they would claim the lead just three jams later. The score would stay close for several jams, until Killjoy took on LoLo Gunz. Killjoy escaped the last Team United blocker with a fancy spin move to get lead jammer while the WCR blocking force of Kristina Rago, Phoebe Fi Fo Fum, Tay Q. Down and Mah-Ko ate LoLo up. At one point, the Team United coach yelled for his team to go back and help the jammer. But LoLo cut the track, letting Killjoy take over in a power jam. WCR took over the lead again, where they would stay until the second half.
At this point in the first half, WCR was up 75-57. After an especially long official review, Team United came back with a vengeance, holding WCR to 75 points for the next four jams. Ms. Dr. Joseph L. Simonis was the only jammer able to beat the Team United wall and score points. The score was an incredibly close 79-73 at halftime.
The score remained close for the first several jams of the second half, with each team adding slowly to their totals. At 88-83, WCR held Team United to 83 points for the next four jams, increasing their own total to 105 points.
And then two things happened: Zoe Trocious got into some penalty trouble, and Team United showed off their offensive damming skills. Zoe first faced off against Sunami, who got lead jammer while Zoe went to the box. Sunami scored 15 points before calling it off and extending the power jam. Team United jammer Je NE Sais Quoi had a hard fight through the pack but managed to get out. Zoe was released but ended up back in the box with another penalty. Je NE Sais Quoi scored 4 points before calling it, preserving the power jam again. In her third jam in a row as jammer, Zoe started in the box while Team United dammed the WCR blockers to clear the way for EnerGEEzer Bunny -- twice. Zoe was released, and the jam ended with Team United taking over the lead with a score of 105-109.
The next few jams were close, with several lead changes, until Jan Trainor, Simonis and KillaNois had strong outings to bring the score to 134-114 in favor of WCR. EnerGEEzer took advantage of a power jam to put 15 points on the board for Team United, making it a close game yet again. A few more close jams brought the score to 136-138 at the start of the second to last jam. Simonis commited a penalty, so the power jam was on for Team United. Je NE Sais Quoi scored 10 before committing a penalty herself with 20 seconds left in the jam. There was no lead jammer, so this one went the full two minutes, leaving only 10 seconds left on the bout clock. At the very end of the jam, Simonis attempted an apex jump but did not land it, picking up another penalty -- or so we thought.
After a review, the final jam started as a power jam for WCR. Veteran jammer KillaNois needed two more passes than Team United to bring it home for the WCR All-Stars. But the strong Team United wall wasn’t going to let that happen. They held her in the pack for the entire power jam, effectively negating it. Je NE Sais Quoi was released, awarded lead jammer, scored a grand slam and called it off. The final score: 138-153.
Congratulations to the Des Moines Team United All-Stars on a terrific bout and a hard-fought win and Jan Trainor and LolliPop Ya on their MVP honors! The WCR All-Stars' run to the Hydra continues this weekend on Saturday, Apr. 25, against the 4th-ranked Minnesota RollerGirls All-Stars. WCR is currently ranked 11th.